Peter Van De Carr: Respect the Yampa


To the Colorado Division of Wildlife:

I'm writing this letter to publicly thank you for the awesome job you've done raising funds to create and maintain our sport fishing habitat through downtown Steamboat Springs. Our town is much better off economically, environmentally, aesthetically and recreationally thanks to your efforts.

I do think you're making a mistake requesting the elimination of "all non-angling crafts" upstream of the Fifth Street Bridge; although, the jury is still out regarding the legality of running rivers that dissect private property. I believe it is all our responsibility to provide and maintain public access to all American rivers. There has been a lot of discussion about conflicting uses of rivers here in Steamboat Springs. Consider tubing and fly fishing. Some argue that there is no conflict because fishing is best done in the early morning and later in the evening. Fly fishing is excellent during the fall, winter and early spring, while tubing is most fun during the dog days of summer. Others say the conflict is not fly fishing and tubing but rather fly fishing in an urban environment.

To this point, the discussion has been about the fish. Now it is about the fishermen. Let's bring the discussion back to what is most important ... the health of the Yampa River. What can we do to maintain a healthy river and a healthy economy (which we need for the former)? Let's all rally to the real dangers to the Yampa - water quality and quantity, Shell Oil, beetle kill and the fires that will follow. Let's teach safety and respect. Let's openly discuss the issues. My solution is simple. My mantra is one of respect - respect of other river users, respect of riverside property users, and most important, respect of the Yampa River.

We should rally the troops, including Yampa Valley Fly Fishers, Friends of the Yampa, Yampatika, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, just to mention a very few. Let's go to the schools, the resort management companies and the discount sellers of plastic watercraft and defend the Yampa River. Let's teach about the need for respect.

How about a bumper sticker on every car that reads, "Respect the Yampa"? Let's encourage our civic leaders to put more teeth into mitigation of non-point source pollution.

Let's do what we can to reduce the impact we'll see if (when?) there is a substantial burn on upstream. While we're at it, we can make sure everybody wears a life jacket above 500 cfs. Whether or not you agree with me, please take the time to write. Participate in the public forum. Or write me at I'll make sure your voice is counted. If you can make it, there will be a public meeting of the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission at 5:30 p.m. today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Let your voice be known.

Peter Van De Carr

President, Backdoor Sports Ltd


mtroach 8 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if this means that Backdoor will eliminate it's tubing operations? How better to respect the Yampa than to remove a commericial operation that is part of the stress on this ecosystem.


Wendy Powell 8 years, 1 month ago

Bravo, well said Peter! Not only non-angling and angling Craft, but EVERYONE needs to:

                                The Yampa

An educational promotion of 'leave no trace' and 'slide on by silently' through the neighborhood will make better relations than trying to 'regulate by legislate'.

Will we see a bunch of tubers with fishing poles and licenses that qualify as angling craft yet still have no respect, no river ethic?

River police? Neither the flyfisher nor the tuber want to add a third group.

As for the fish, let's not debate who gives them more grief.


honestabe 8 years, 1 month ago

mtroach, you ask how better to respect the Yampa than to remove Peters business. You are a disrespectful, ignorant fool. Peter has a right/need to make a living, and he does so with full respect for the river, let alone all the things he does for the river that he doesnt profit from. He puts in his time and money to support the yampa. If you really cared and didnt just want to make an ignorant attack, tell us what u are going to do to respect/help the river.
If removing tubing is the best you can think of to help the river, you must be an employee of Shell, or just stone cold stupid. Im guessing the later. Maybe you could disprove me by giving us some other ideas to help the river. Your hot air is making for global warming.


Brian Bavosi 8 years, 1 month ago

I think this is great timing by Peter...considering the Parks and Rec. Commission will be considering possible ordinances to tubing tonight. The bottom line is that the Yampa River is the number 1 resource in this community and the City will not acknowledge that the water quality is a question due to the temperatures and flow in the summer, regardless of tubing!

By the way Wilson, weren't the permits tied to a specific site? And don't the permits expire if the operation is moved? OOPS!

The City wants to bury it's head in the sand in the name of the economy. Tubing brings in money there is no doubt. Fishing brings in money to this community as well. If you look at old photos from the 1900's you will see that it was a "slick" through the majority of town. The DOW, Yampa Valley Fly Fishers, the City, and many others wanted to create a "viable fishery" and noticed the potential for improvement. The local movement was created by stewards of this land who wanted something better.

I have never heard anyone use the words steward and tubing in the same sentence. It is a disgrace to our town to put such a "circus" on the water and the visual impact is rediculous.

To honestabe: There is no ignorance when attacking tubing. I have been a guide on these waters before commercial tubing took place and spend more hours than I wish to count on the same waters today. The amount of trash, disturbance to fish in critical temps., and disrespect for our resource has increased, no question. Is removing tubing the best thing I can think of, I'm not sure but it is a great start. Maybe someone could build a water park and we wouldn't have to deal with this issue any longer.


1999 8 years, 1 month ago

so..when comercial tubing is you think people won't just go to wal mart and buy tubes and float?

will we have float police?

what will tourists do in the summer?

how many times can you do the alpine slide?

how much can you shop?

i agree with pete...we need to educate people.


1999 8 years, 1 month ago

oh and you are for a water park that will affect some other ecosystem?


Steve Lewis 8 years, 1 month ago

Tourism is still important, particularly in the short term. We share our mountain. We share our town. We share our trails and ballfields. Can't we share this little stretch of water?

We want folks to take fond memories home, right? Well that cool tube float probably made their mountain day after the heat back home in Houston, Denver or where ever. Just educate the users, as Pete suggests.

Isn't most of the water in question sandwiched between a commercial district and a railroad? This tussle might make sense if we were talking about pristine riverbanks.


1999 8 years, 1 month ago

i relly enjoy tubing ....clearly many other people do as well.

people need to be educated.

ignorant people are ignorant people regardless of what they do.


Brian Bavosi 8 years, 1 month ago

I spent about 15 minutes at last nights meeting for tubing and it is clear that the City is acknowledging the problems created by private tubing. I have thought about the issue at length and I do believe a possible solution would be to ban private tubing on the river....I know it sounds crazy to limit the rights of users but here are some advantages.

  1. Prohibiting private tubing may increase the amount of users to the Commercial operations. The benefits would be more sales tax for the City and controlled numbers on the water to reduce user conflicts. The commercial operations do a good job at monitoring their own users and would increase possible revenues.

  2. Prohibiting private users may also allow for the commercial groups to step up and take responsibility for the already identified impacts of tubing. Many people want to point a finger at the commercial users but in fact those users appear to be the most responsible and educated.

  3. The established commercial operations are permitted through the City and are required to meet certain standards for compliance. Utilizing an established regulatory system and existing operations would eliminate the need for many of the mitigation measures discussed in last nights meeting.

The City is notorious for creating unnecessary and additional resources when other options may be viable. Let's turn it over to the commercial operations to increase their viability and utilize their already established parameters for operation.


callguinness 8 years, 1 month ago

If we are going to limit tubing on the river to commercial operations only, lets take it a step further.

We should allow no recreational activity in the valley with out an educated guide. No more hiking/camping without a guide, there are some some hikers who leave trash behind, dig their own fire pits, and make a mess of the outdoors. No more mountain biking without a guide, some of these people leave the trail and leave trash behind. No more road biking without a guide, some of these people don't know how to share the road and leave trash behind. No more back country skiing without a guide, these people cause avalanches that can change the face of the mountain and leave trash behind. No more snowmobiling without a guide, more avalanches and trash. I could go on through every outdoor activity but I won't.

I think you must get the point by now, it doesn't matter what the activity is, some people are not going to agree with it, there will be groups on both sides of the issues. Some parts of both groups will be bad eggs and make a mess of the place they came out to enjoy.

Banning public tubing is not a good solution.


jk 8 years, 1 month ago

Call, Brian probably agrees with that since it sounds like he is a flyfishing guide.


sickofitall 8 years, 1 month ago

Dang, sounds like the Grand Canyon river permit system,YAWN. Brian you are making anglers look really bad here.


flotilla 8 years, 1 month ago

wonder what would happen if you just banned CMC students? Sounds like many of the problems (gaper day, tubing, grafitting rental homes, etc) come from the college. But Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp just keeps giving them cheaper passes. Now, we are going to lose private tubing, something my family has been doing since the 80's... however, back then I don't remember any trash or beligerent 19 year olds. What more shall we lose until the real problem is looked at. I know, this is totally not going to be a solution but I guarantee you, it is the "college" kids that need a lesson in respect. My apologies to the good students that are generalized here.


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